Charlie Cox has told SBS he will be leaving the Top Gear Australia franchise to spend more time in his native Britain. He will be replaced by Australian jazz icon James Morrison, who will join existing hosts Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati for the second series, scheduled to hit our television screens in 2009.
“My time on Top Gear Australia was very special and it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of launching an extraordinary series,” Cox said. “Sadly, though, I’ve lived in the UK for the past 19 years and I’m not able to give the time I want to Series Two.”
Forty-six year old Morrison, one of Australia’s best loved trumpet players and well known for his love of cars, is delighted with his new role, “I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet … but I think series two is going to be bigger and better than ever. I just hope some of the challenges include playing a chorus of the blues,” he said. Let’s hope the quality of his gags improves.
Morrison was the ‘Star In A Bog Standard Car’ in Episode 6 of the debut series and his lap time of 1:26.46 is the current record for this segment. His familiarity with the cast and the program has given SBS content director Matt Campbell confidence his new cast member will fit right in, “James brings with him a deep love of cars, a huge personality and a strong sense of funâ€”a perfect complement to Warren and Steve.”
For a teaser of what we can expect from James Morrison, check out this hidden gem, originally produced way back in 1994, as unearthed by CarAdvice.
The full press release from SBS, including quotes from Warren and Steve, can be read after the jump.
SBS today announced that Top Gear Australia host, Charlie Cox, has decided to leave the show because of his media commitments and business interests in the UK. He will be replaced by James Morrison – renowned Australian trumpeter and former car show host.
Cox said he arrived at the decision reluctantly but, as a director of ten British and Australian companies and as a broadcaster for the BBC for the past ten years, it became clear he couldnâ€™t give the time to the show it required.
â€œMy time on Top Gear Australia was very special and it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of launching an extraordinary series. Sadly, though, Iâ€™ve lived in the UK for the past 19 years and Iâ€™m not able to give the time I want to Series Two. It seems best to leave the show and I wish James all the best in joining the two best blokes in Australian television -Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati,â€ Cox said.
James Morrison paid tribute to the work of Charlie Cox and says heâ€™s â€œthrilledâ€ to be joining the Top Gear team.
â€œAs a huge fan of the show, you couldnâ€™t ask for better blokes to be working with than Warren and Steve – this is going to be FUN! I donâ€™t want to sound like Iâ€™m blowing my own trumpetâ€¦ but I think series two is going to be bigger and better than ever – I just hope some of the challenges include playing a chorus of the blues!â€
Top Gear Australia co-host Warren Brown said:
â€œIâ€™m as excited as anyone to be knocking around with James on the next series of Top Gear Australia. As everyone knows, heâ€™s a red-hot hand behind the wheel, an unrepentant, unreconstructed and unabashed car enthusiast â€“ but more importantly heâ€™s a bloke with whom itâ€™s huge fun to be around. (Aside from that, heâ€™s far more accomplished with a trumpet than I am with a five-string banjo as Steve Pizzati will testify).
â€œNo doubt about it â€“ weâ€™ll be missing Charlie, a top bloke whoâ€™s become a terrific mate, but Iâ€™d love to welcome James on board and canâ€™t wait to work with him on Top Gear Australia II.â€
Top Gear Australia co-host, Steve Pizzati said:
â€œItâ€™s a shame that Charlieâ€™s commitments overseas mean that he canâ€™t complete the journey we all started together nearly a year ago. Iâ€™m looking forward to James joining Warren and myself, although, on top of everything else, it now means Iâ€™ll have to learn how to play a bloody musical instrument too! Perhaps the kazooâ€¦â€
SBSâ€™s Director of Content, Television and Online, Matt Campbell said:
â€œSBS thanks Charlie Cox for helping to launch and bed down Top Gear Australia. I understand the decision Charlie has made and accept his UK commitments wouldnâ€™t allow him to return in 2009. We now look forward to seeing James Morrison on our screens when the series returns in 2009. James brings with him a deep love of cars, a huge personality and a strong sense of fun – a perfect complement to Warren and Steve.â€